Study aim: the aim of this study was to assess the relationship between classical sport massage of the hand and the forearm and the surface temperature of upper limb muscles, and between hand grip strength and the range of motion in the radiocarpal joint.
Material and methods: study participants comprised 35 women not engaging in competitive sport, aged 19–23 years. Thermal images were taken with a Flir A325 camera. Hand grip strength was measured using an analogue dynamometer. The range of motion in the radiocarpal joint was measured using a goniometer. All tests and measurements were performed twice: directly before and after the massage of the hand and the forearm (of the right limb). Classical massage was applied on the dorsal and palmar surfaces of the hand and on the anterior and posterior surfaces of the forearm.
Results: after the massage, the temperature of the right limb increased significantly, as did the temperature of the posterior surface of the left limb. However, no change in temperature was observed on the anterior surfaces of the left forearm and the left arm. A significant increase in the range of motion in the right radiocarpal joint (in all planes) was observed. No significant differences in hand grip strength measured with a dynamometer were found before and after the massage.
Conclusions: while classical sport massage increases muscle temperature, it does not improve effort capacity, and therefore it is not a sufficient means of preparing an athlete for physical effort. The massage increased the range of motion in the massaged limb, which mostly indicates the relaxing effect of the treatment.
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Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.